Firm Profile > Robertsons > Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand

Insurance Tier 2

'Niche insurance law specialists with some of the best talent in the sector', says a client of Robertsons in Auckland. The senior team, which has more than 90 years' combined experience in insurance law and claims handling, has in-depth experience in all areas of insurance. It counts QBE Insurance, Ando Insurance, Allianz New Zealand, Delta Insurance and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance among its clients. Michael Robertson (who is 'is hugely experienced, knows how insurers work and has good instincts') and Helen Twomey (who is 'a very smart lawyer and gets to the key points succinctly') lead the practice. Robertson specialises in professional indemnity, general liability and directors and officers insurance. Twomey's core focus is liability insurance, which includes claims involving the legal and accounting professions and the financial services sector.


“Robertsons has a huge amount of experience in liability insurance law. The team is very capable and well versed in all facets of liability. What makes it unique is that their staff are personable and can have a technical conversation in person or over the phone with our staff, insureds and brokers and easily articulate complex issues without overwhelming the less experienced individuals.”

“They excel in providing comprehensive written summaries that read easily and don’t over complicate delivery of information. They are pragmatic and commercial.”

“Michael Robertson and Helen Twomey are open and honest with information and are always prepared to have frank conversations over prickly issues. They are proactive on notifications where complexity or conflict may arise. They are extremely professional in their delivery which gives me the utmost confidence in them dealing directly with our insureds and broker partners. They are very accommodating with our demanding timelines and deliver on their promises.”

“Very good breadth and depth from Michael Robertson down. Very strong below partner level also.”

“Robertsons are insurance law experts with a lot of experience acting for insurers.”

Key clients

QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited

Ando Insurance Group Limited

Allianz New Zealand

Aioi Nissay Dowa Management (NZ) Limited

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co Limited

Markel Syndicate 3000 at Lloyd’s

Travelers Insurance Company Limited

WRB Underwriting

Willis Towers Watson

Lumley General Insurance (N.Z.) Limited and NZI

Delta Insurance New Zealand Limited

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Crowe Horwath

The firm: Established in 2011, Robertsons has built on the considerable experience of partners Michael Robertson, who has devoted 29 years to successfully resolving liability insurance disputes, and Helen Twomey, who has focused solely on insurance since 2003.

Their intention was to leverage their extensive big firm experience to create a boutique, specialist firm that could punch above its weight and attract staff and clients that would place value on developing a genuine partnership to achieve outstanding results.

Robertsons’ sole focus is insurance, and has been since its formation. The partners and staff at Robertsons pride themselves on knowing all there is to know about the insurance industry and the laws governing it both at home in New Zealand and abroad.

Over the years, Robertsons has grown and together with Michael and Helen the team now includes Jennifer Thompson, a 36-year insurance veteran who was a partner at a leading London insurance law firm specialising in aviation; Nicola Faulkner who has 12 years’ experience in insurance in London and New Zealand; and two former barristers – Rachael Woods and Barbarella McCarthy – who have significant criminal and regulatory experience. The team is rounded out by three intermediate solicitors, David Newport, Whitney Robertson and Sophie Watson and four junior solicitors, Morgan Fee, Sophie Curlett, Magnus Walker and Heather Bridgman, all of whom share a passion for insurance.

Areas of practice: Liability insurance: Robertsons’ primary area of expertise is in liability insurance. The team members have many years of experience in all aspects of liability insurance from drafting liability insurance products (including bespoke policies) through to liability management, claims handling and litigation services; and in all areas from professional indemnity claims and directors and officers claims to general liability claims.

Professional indemnity: the firm has acted for a diverse range of professionals in all New Zealand Courts and before various tribunals and regulatory bodies. The firm’s advice is routinely sought on indemnity matters and in drafting professional indemnity policies and endorsements, including bespoke policies.

General liability: Robertsons regularly drafts general liability policies, endorsements and extensions. The firm also acts on a large number – and wide range – of general liability claims, often involving multi-party claims or claims involving difficult indemnity issues.

Statutory liability: the firm regularly defends insureds against prosecution before Courts and Tribunals pursuant to their statutory liability cover. The firm has specifically retained Barbarella McCarthy, a senior solicitor (former barrister) with extensive experience in criminal and regulatory defence work to handle these matters.

Tech/cyber liability: Robertsons has assisted in the drafting of technology liability products and endorsements and handled a variety of technology claims for a range of insurers.

Fidelity: the firm often provides indemnity advice in relation to fidelity losses and recovery actions.

Material damage and business interruption: the firm acts for insurers on material damage claims. Generally, it is engaged on claims giving rise to complex indemnity issues or significant losses. It also assists in policy drafting and interpretation, particularly since the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010/11.

Directors and officers/trustees liability: the firm has been retained on a number of directors and officers and trustees liability claims, both where proceedings have been issued and where a complaint has been made to a regulatory body.

Aviation: the firm acts for a number of aviation liability insurers including Lloyd’s Syndicates and international insurers in relation to commercial aviation claims in New Zealand. Jennifer Thompson has significant international expertise in aviation including hull, passenger, cargo, baggage and travel/tour operator liabilities.

International liability: the firm regularly act for domestic insurers with international claims most regularly in the Pacific Islands, Australia, the UK and the USA.

Department Name Email Telephone
Professional indemnity
General liability
Statutory liability
Tech/cyber liability
Material damage and business interruption
Directors and officers/trustees liability
Insurance policy drafting
Risk management for professionals, insurers and brokers
Photo Name Position Profile
 Michael Robertson photo Michael Robertson Partner
 Helen Twomey  photo Helen Twomey Partner
Number of lawyers : 13
Contacts : Michael Robertson
Contacts : Helen Twomey